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Wills, Estates, Trusts, Guardianship, Powers of Attorney

Elder Law

Bedford Law handles a variety of estate planning matters, including planning for the distribution of an individual’s property at his or her death. We prepare wills and trusts to gain the maximum benefit of applicable laws, while carrying out the person’s wishes.

Wills & Trusts – A valid will instructs an executor and the court as to the deceased person’s wishes for personal and real property distribution and guardianship provisions for children. A trust places assets under the management of a trustee either at the creation of the trust or on the individual’s death. A trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to manage the assets until the terms and conditions of the trust have been fulfilled. Bedford Law helps individuals protect their loved ones and plan for the distribution of their property and assets at their death through the drafting and updating of wills and trusts. A will is one of the most important legal documents an individual will ever sign. It is unwise to entrust this aspect of your estate planning to a generic “will kit”. Lawyers study wills and estate law and continue to update their knowledge throughout their careers. Hiring a lawyer to personally prepare a customized will for your particular needs and situation is well worth the investment.

Probate & Estate Administration – Probate is the legal process by which a person’s Will is proven, the appointment of Executor is confirmed by the Court, debts are paid and assets are distributed, after upon his or her death. “Testacy” refers to a situation where a person dies leaving a valid Will.  The person appointed the Executor in the Will is required to “Probate” the Will in the Court of Probate.  This is special procedure governed by the Nova Scotia Probate Act.  It is helpful to have a lawyer assist the Executor in the probate process.  When people die without a Will, that situation is referred to as “intestacy”.  The distribution of the deceased intestate person’s property and the process of appointing an Administrator of the deceased person’s estate is also governed by the Probate Act of Nova Scotia.  The distribution of the property of an intestate estate is governed by the Intestate Succession Act instead of by the Will of the deceased without regard to what that person might have wanted.  Provincial laws and procedures may vary, so it is important to consult a lawyer with expertise in this area of the law to ensure that the deceased’s assets are distributed correctly and to provide legal advice on how to probate the Will, or, if there was no Will, how to administer the estate of the deceased.  Bedford Law would be pleased to assist you.

Power of Attorney – A document by which a person may appoint another to act in his or her place and stead, a Power of Attorney has become an important aspect of estate planning. Protect your assets by appointing an attorney to represent your interests and manage your affairs in the event you become incapacitated from doing so yourself because of accident, injury or debilitating illness. The attorney chosen by you must be of the highest ethical character, as he or she will have complete authority to collect your accounts, dispose of your assets and pay your liabilities. If a person becomes incompetent to manage his or her own affairs and does not have a valid Power of Attorney previously executed, it may be necessary for a court application to be made pursuant to the Incompetent Persons’ Act for an order appointing a legal guardian. The court process can be slow and expensive. Wise planning in advance will help avoid this so the person himself can appoint an attorney who will look after his or her personal needs, assets, and liabilities in the unhappy event of a calamity. Bedford Law has the necessary experience to assist you in preparing your Power of Attorney.

Personal Care Directive – Some people wish to give instructions to their loved ones as to their future medical care in the event they become terminally ill and are unable to consent or to refuse consent to medical treatment. Consult with the lawyers at Bedford Law to see how you can prepare in advance for such an eventuality.